Let’s Talk About: Being Ready for Opportunities

The following conversation happens every week in the Knowlton Center during a career coaching appointment:

Career Coach: What would you like to focus on today during our time together?

Student: I found a job I want to apply for, but I don’t have a resume/cover letter/LinkedIn profile and the deadline to apply is tomorrow!

This happens all the time and the result can be poorly written resumes and cover letters and missed opportunities. We know you are busy with classes, activities, friends, and being a member of the Denison community. Career exploration and preparation may not always be top of your “to do” list (or may not even BE on that list!) But we want you to BE READY whenever and wherever that great summer opportunity or post-Denison job presents itself!

With the end of the semester and winter break on the horizon, here are 5 Be Ready Actions for you to consider taking or completing so that the situation described above doesn’t happen to you. Winter break is obviously also a great time to actively research and seek out those amazing opportunities! These 5 actions are equally appropriate for all students.

#1. Write or update your résumé.

Don’t wait until someone is willing to engage in a networking conversation or until there’s a job you want to apply for…get it done now! Here is a handout on how to get started.

#2, Create or update your LinkedIn profile.

Same idea as the previous action… don’t wait until you absolutely need one in order to establish yourself on LinkedIn! In order to connect with others on LinkedIn, you need an updated profile. What do you think 99% of people do when they receive a LinkedIn connection request… they check the sender’s profile! Check out this resource to see what makes for a good LinkedIn profile. Need a photo for your LinkedIn profile? Stop by our the Knowlton Center and we’ll get that taken care of for you.

#3. Write down a list of everyone you COULD network with and start reaching out to them.

If they live in your area, ask them to meet with you (bonus points if you get them to offer you a job shadowing experience!) Unsure what to talk about if they agree to chat? Click here for a helpful handout!

#4. Draft a cover letter if you don’t already have one.

Here is a handout on cover letters with some suggestions. Again, do you want to be caught the day before a job deadline without a basic letter that you can adapt to each opportunity you may pursue?

#5. Practice answering some common interview questions.

Write down your answers to these five basic interview questions and practice your answers out loud (even videotape them) so you can hear how they sound.

  1. Tell me about yourself in 2-3 minutes?
  2. Why did you choose to attend Denison and how did you pick your major(s)?
  3. Tell me about your most important non-academic activities?
  4. What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
  5. What would people who have interacted with you on a team (class project, athletic team, club or organization) say was your greatest contribution in that collaborative situation?

Need help with any of these items? We’ll be available for coaching appointments during break, except from December 24 – January 3, so feel free to schedule a coaching appointment.

By Hank Malin
Hank Malin